NEWARK, N.J. – Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils were back, at least for one game.
Brodeur made 33 saves and the Devils had season highs for goals in a game and a period in snapping a four-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night.
Jason Arnott’s lucky go-ahead goal highlighted a five-goal third period that carried New Jersey to its third win in 18 games. It was also only the Devils’ second win in 27 games when they trailed after two periods.
“It’s always fun when you win,” said David Clarkson, who tallied the Devils’ first two goals. “We’ve been losing games and been saying, ‘We did this right, we did that right.’ Tonight we won and did some good things, and that is more satisfying than anything in the world. Winning is what it is all about, and we did that tonight.”
Not only was the comeback and the goals a major story for the offensively challenged Devils, but seeing Marty play like Marty was huge for this once-proud team.
The 38-year-old Brodeur had sat two straight games as the backup to Johan Hedberg before relieving the Swede on Saturday in a loss to Philadelphia. He returned to the starting lineup on Sunday and only gave up one bad goal.
The cheers of “Marty, Marty” were frequent during the second and third periods.
“I heard,” Brodeur said. “That goes with the way you play. When you play well, you get these accolades. It’s always nice to get the support from the people coming to the games.”
In recent games, Brodeur has also heard boos and sarcastic cheers after saves following goals.
There was none of that against the Southeast Division-leading Lightning.
“I think I made the saves that made the big difference,” said Brodeur, who has worked hard in practice to get his game back on track.
Dainius Zubrus, Patrik Elias and Nick Palmieri added a late insurance goals for the Devils, who have the league’s worst record (11-29-2).
Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone and Dominic Moore tallied for Tampa Bay, which is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games.
Arnott’s game winner came just nine seconds after Steven Stamkos was given a questionable cross-checking penalty. Elias sent the puck from behind the net to Henrik Tallinder in the left circle. The defenceman wound up and hit a puck that knuckled toward the net where it appeared to hit off Arnott’s hand and floated into the net.
The play was reviewed and Arnott’s 10th goal of the season stood.
“I was trying to fire it and I misfired it,” Tallinder said. “It hit Arnie, it was just a lucky bounce. Finally, it went our way this time.”
Zubrus pushed the lead to 4-2 and Elias and Palmieri sandwiched empty net goals around a tally by Moore.
“You’ve got to be a disciplined team, especially in the third period, and I don’t just mean with penalties, I mean structurally, turnovers, little things that get you wins we got away from in the third period,” Lightning defenceman Randy Jones said. “I’d say it snowballed and we all know the end result.”
Clarkson had tied the game 2-2 early in the third period with his seventh goal of the season and second of the game. Ilya Kovalchuk set up the power-play tally with a cross-ice pass from the left point that set up a slapshot that beat Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis.
Malone had given the Lightning a 2-1 lead with 3:59 left in the first period with his ninth goal on the power play. Brodeur seemingly had the corner of the net shut off but Malone’s jam-in from a bad angle found its way between the goaltender’s pads.
Purcell and Clarkson traded goals in the opening 5:55.
Purcell’s career-high seventh goal was a gift. Devils centre Adam Mair tried to clear a loose puck in the crease and it hit off Lightning forward Mattias Ritola and bounced to the other side of the net where Purcell had a tap-in.
Clarkson took a great pass from Tim Sestiti and beat Ellis on a breakaway to the tie.
NOTES: Defenceman Anton Volchenkov was scratched from the Devils’ lineup because of the death of his father. D Mark Fayne was recalled from Albany (AHL) and played. …The goal by Palmieri was his first in the NHL.